Our Favorite Rooms of 2017
Jerry Garcia’s old recording studio clearly hasn’t lost its cool. California-based designer Allison Bloom turned the rocker’s former hideaway in Stinson Beach into a groovy guest house and lounge, even crafting a sectional out of old wooden shipping pallets. P.S. Never underestimate the swell factor of a great lounge. I think of them like style science labs—few rules, just beautiful ideas. I’d say Garcia would approve.
I’m a sucker for great wall paneling—it has so much depth, it’s almost as if little snippets of history settle into the wood. Conversations, music, laughter: even quirky characters like carved whales and flying sea turtles are drawn in. But in this Hamptons living area by Marshall Watson, the raw poplar walls do something else: they let the turquoise in the room be old-school turquoise, the one that danced through the 1960s, a standard of wild floral prints and A-line dresses. The bright watery shade still knows how to bring the funk.
We spotted this Sullivan’s Island dining room (see the whole house) on designer Jenny Keenan’s Instagram and immediately started calling her to find when we could see more. The tropical de Gournay wall panels, the custom painted floor, the woven peacock chairs all had us smitten. Even the way it’s tucked into a sunny nook in the hall gives it an original edge. Love Jenny’s look? More is on the way as she’s the designer of our 2018 Idea House in the town of Habersham, South Carolina.
If a retro-fantastic citrus color scheme belongs anywhere, it’s in an early 20th century summerhouse with naked whitewashed paneling and vintage rattan chairs. And clearly, designer Chenault James designed this Lake Michigan living room knowing citron and fern are long overdue for a comeback.
There’s so much design genius in a symphony of great seating. So even though this Fire Island great room is wrapped in white oak and views of Great South Bay, I give just as much beauty and warmth credit to the inviting—and varied—conversation areas. The stick wicker sofas, curved rattan club chairs, and cushy banquettes to stretch out on have redefined what it means to be a great room.
This Fire Island bunkroom is like that coworker who owns casual Friday—the sweater, the jacket, the jeans, the shoes, the bag, the scarf. Her A-game is effortless and put together. It’s the same with this bunkroom. It’s youthful and fun without losing its polish, and colorful while still being serene. The coral fabrics even seem to set the oak paneling aglow, making a clear case for sophisticated bunkrooms.
During our Idea House photo shoot in Newport, I took my laptop up to this third-floor loft and sat down to write about the room. But that wasn’t nearly as easy as it looked. With views of Easton bay shining in through the wraparound casement windows, sun coming in on all sides, a daybed to kick back on, it was less a makeshift workspace, more a bird’s eye view of the bay and the famed Newport mansions. Designer Mark D. Sikes made sure it also had a firm New England sense of place with the navy stripes and pretty rattan. In the end, my computer screen just couldn’t compete.
Our style director, Lindsey Beatty, spotted this Lyford Cay house on VRBO. She was looking for a location to shoot a different story and came upon a photo of this entryway. It was a little dark and hard to see, but the coral doors and trim told us everything we needed to know. That Amanda Lindroth was listed as the designer made it all the more of a winning discovery. The best part? Amanda told us in the interview that even she was surprised that this “borderline neon” color worked. It worked, all right, and it’s one of our most memorable rooms of 2017.
For anyone looking for designer secrets, the back porch of Lindroth’s Lyford Cay house holds a big one. The furniture, shutters, and trim are painted Southfield Green by Benjamin Moore, which is very similar to Barbados’ signature green hue made popular by famed mid-20th-century designer Oliver Messel. Try it! It’s a game-changing color, and it really sings paired with natural wood and white.
When we reviewed the scouting photos of this house by Charlotte Lucas, I turned to this kitchen photo and was immediately sold. The sage green cabinetry is so original—nothing against white kitchens, but there are a lot out there!—and conveys feelings of calm and grace. The brass lighting and marbled quartzite stone backsplash take the sophistication level up a notch and make it shine.
This historic green bungalow, renovated by Roberto Sosa and homeowner George Hensler, is on Maui’s North Shore. The entire house blew us away, primarily for how reflective it is of its spot on the Hawaiian coast. That plays a bigger role than many realize—we love it when we can show readers a house that really embraces its location’s vernacular. Hensler and Sosa kept this side porch simple, with a modernist sofa and angular teak chairs.